Xian Zhang steps in for Christian Reif to conduct DSO Digital Concerts, November 5 and 6

- November 5 program features world premiere of orchestral version of Nokuthula Ngwenyama’s Primal Message; November 6 brings world premiere of Tyshawn Sorey’s For Marcos Balter with violinist Jennifer Koh

- Watch DSO Digital Concerts at dso.org every Thursday and Friday this fall

Detroit, (October 13, 2020) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) today announced that Xian Zhang will step in for previously scheduled conductor Christian Reif to lead DSO Digital Concerts on Thursday, November 5 and Friday, November 6 at 7:30 p.m. Reif is unable to fly to Detroit due to travel restrictions. The programs are unchanged.

The November 6 performance will feature the world premiere of Tyshawn Sorey’s For Marcos Balter (with guest soloist Jennifer Koh, violin), co-commissioned by the DSO and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO), where Zhang currently serves as music director. The DSO thanks the NJSO for their partnership on this commission and agreeing to this first performance in Detroit.

Other works across the two nights include the world premiere of the orchestral version of Nokuthula Ngwenyama’s Primal Message, Florence Price’s Five Folksongs in Counterpoint for string quartet, and Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings in E major, Op. 22.

A trailblazer in the world of orchestral webcasting since 2011, the DSO launched a new streaming series, DSO Digital Concerts, on September 10, available exclusively on dso.org to view both live and on-demand for two weeks. Subscribers and select donors receive access to all DSO Digital Concerts, with individual tickets available for $12. DSO Replay—the orchestra’s archive of past seasons’ webcasts—remains free for all at dso.org/replay.

For a full schedule of DSO Digital Concerts, visit dso.org/fall2020.

The DSO Classical Series is generously sponsored by PVS Chemicals, Inc.

DSO Digital Concerts: Classical Series Week 7
Xian Zhang, conductor
Jennifer Koh, violin [Friday only]

Program A (Thursday, November 5 at 7:30 p.m.)

NOKUTHULA NGWENYAMA: Primal Message (world premiere of orchestral version)
DVOŘÁK: Serenade for Strings in E major, Op. 22

Program B (Friday, November 6 at 7:30 p.m.)

PRICE: Five Folksongs in Counterpoint
TYSHAWN SOREY: For Marcos Balter for Violin and Orchestra (world premiere) (Jennifer Koh, violin)

About Xian Zhang

Xian Zhang currently serves as music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Since taking up this position, she has commissioned works from such composers as Thomas Adès, Qigang Chen, Christopher Rouse, Tyshawn Sorey, Vivian Li, Gary Morgan, Christian McBride, and Paquito D’Rivera. She is responsible for introducing an annual Lunar New Year Celebration concert to the orchestra and will remain at the helm of the orchestra through and beyond their 100th anniversary in 2022.

The acclaim she has been receiving for her work in New Jersey has resulted in a strong North American career. Last season, she performed with the Dallas, Baltimore, Montreal, and Ottawa (NAC) Symphony Orchestras. Planned weeks with the Chicago and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras have been postponed a season. In August 2019, she returned to the Los Angeles Philharmonic to conduct the world premiere of Caroline Shaw’s The Observatory and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

Zhang’s European engagements this season and next include the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra (Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde), Warsaw Philharmonic, and MDR Leipzig. Last season, she conducted the Orchestre National de Lyon at the Paris Philharmonie (Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique), and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France as part of La Folle Journée festival in Nantes.

Zhang’s scheduled August 2020 debut with Santa Fe opera, performing the world premiere of Huang Ruo’s M. Butterfly, has been rescheduled to a later season. Previous opera engagements include Nabucco with Welsh National Opera, Otello with Savonlinna Festival, La Traviata for Den Norske Opera (Oslo), La Bohème for English National Opera, and La forza del destino with National Opera, Washington D.C.

Zhang holds the positions of Principal Guest Conductor of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Emeritus of Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, following a hugely successful period from 2009–2016 as music director. She has previously served as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales and was the first female conductor to hold a titled role with a BBC orchestra. In 2002, she won first prize in the Maazel-Vilar Conductor’s Competition. She was appointed New York Philharmonic’s Assistant Conductor in 2002, subsequently becoming their Associate Conductor and the first holder of the Arturo Toscanini Chair.

About the DSO

The most accessible orchestra on the planet, the acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and a deep connection to its city. As a community-supported orchestra, generous giving by individuals and institutions at all levels drives the continued success and growth of the organization. In January 2020, Italian conductor Jader Bignamini was named the DSO’s next music director to commence with the 2020-2021 season. Conductor Leonard Slatkin, who concluded a decade-long tenure at the helm in 2018, now serves as the DSO’s Music Director Laureate, endowed by the Kresge Foundation. Celebrated conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik is the orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor, while the outstanding trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, the DSO offers a performance schedule that features Classical, PNC Pops, Paradise Jazz, and Young People’s Family Concert series. One of the world’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, Orchestra Hall celebrates its centennial in 2019-2020. In addition, the DSO presents the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series in eight metro area venues, as well as a robust schedule of eclectic multi-genre performances in its mid-size venue The Cube, constructed and curated with support from Peter D. & Julie F. Cummings. A dedication to broadcast innovation began in 1922, when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a radio broadcast and continues today with the free Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series, which also reaches tens of thousands of children with the Classroom Edition expansion. With growing attendance and unwavering philanthropic support from the people of Detroit, the DSO actively pursues a mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.